[Transcriber's Note: Table of Contents and List of Illustrations have been compiled by the transcriber.]
CURRENT HISTORY: THE EUROPEAN WAR
FROM THE BEGINNING TO MARCH 1915
"WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY?"
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Published by the New York Times
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TABLE OF CONTENTS.
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WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY? THE CASE FOR GERMANY
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SPEECHES BY KAISER WILHELM II. FORGIVES ENEMIES. SPEECH FROM THE THRONE. TO THE GERMAN ARMY AND NAVY. "TO THE LAST BREATH OF MAN AND HORSE." TO GERMAN WOMEN. JOY IN GLORIOUS VICTORY. FIRST SUCCESSFUL BATTLE. A PRAYER FOR VICTORY. "UP AND AT THE FOES." ON VICTORY NEAR METZ. THE SPIRIT OF THE MEN. HIS INDISCRETION WAS "CALCULATED." WILHELM II.'S LETTER TO LORD TWEEDMOUTH.
The Mighty Fate of Europe "YOUR HEARTS FOR GOD, YOUR FISTS ON THE ENEMY." AS ONE MAN FOR THE KAISER. DECLARES FOR WAR. STATEMENT TO AMERICA. GERMANY'S ARMAMENTS.
Austria-Hungary's Version of the War MANIFESTO. DECLARATION OF WAR. "DAYS OF WORLD'S HISTORY." WILL OF WILHELM II. THAT SWUNG THE SWORD. A PURELY DEFENSIVE WAR. A DISCORDANT NOTE.
A German Review of the Evidence I. THE RUSSIAN MOBILIZATION II. GREY'S OMISSIONS AND ERRORS III. THE AGREEMENT WITH FRANCE IV. BELGIAN NEUTRALITY
"Truth About Germany" HOW THE WAR CAME ABOUT. REICHSTAG AND EMPEROR. THE GERMAN MOBILIZATION. ARMY AND NAVY. THE ATTITUDES OF GERMANY'S ENEMIES. LIES ABOUT GERMANY. GERMANY AND THE FOREIGNER. COMMERCE AND TRADE RELATIONS WHO IS TO BE VICTORIOUS?
Speculations About Peace, September, 1914
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WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY? CASE FOR THE TRIPLE ENTENTE
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FIRST WARNINGS OF EUROPE'S PERIL Speeches by British Ministers "A CLOUD OVER EUROPE." AUSTRO-SERVIAN CRISIS. A GRAVE SITUATION. RISK OF A CATASTROPHE. OPPOSITION CONCURS. PEACE THE GREAT OBJECT. RUSSIA'S MOBILIZATION. THE GERMAN INVASION. PEACE OF EUROPE CANNOT BE PRESERVED. Sir Edward Grey - House of Commons - Aug. 3. GERMANY AND BELGIUM. UNHESITATING SUPPORT. CHANGED IRISH FEELING. GREAT BRITAIN'S ULTIMATUM TO GERMANY. PENETRATION OF BELGIAN TERRITORY.
Great Britain's Mobilization KING TO BRITAIN'S FLEET. NAPOLEONISM ONCE AGAIN. PACT OF TRIPLE ENTENTE. A COUNTERSTROKE. IMPERIAL MESSAGE TO THE BRITISH DOMINIONS. 438,000 MEN RECRUITED. EARL KITCHENER'S SPEECH ON RECRUITS PARLIAMENT PROROGUED.
Summons of the Nation to Arms PRIME MINISTER'S LETTER. MR. ASQUITH IN LONDON. GERMANY SPEAKS. GREAT BRITAIN REPLIES. MR. ASQUITH AT EDINBURGH. MR. ASQUITH AT DUBLIN. MR. ASQUITH AT CARDIFF. LORD CURZON'S EXPERIENCE. NOW THE WAR HAS COME. THE GREAT WAR.
Teachings of Gen. von Bernhardi
Entrance of France Into War NEUTRALIZED STATE RESPECTED. THE NATION IN ARMS. POSITION OF THE REPUBLIC. BEFORE THE MARNE BATTLE.
Russia to Her Enemy Slav Emperor Announces New Policies. A MANIFESTO. CZAR AT THE KREMLIN. APPEAL TO THE POLES. THE POLISH RESPONSE. NO ALLIANCE WITH GERMANY POLISH AMERICAN OPINION. RUSSIA AGAINST GERMANY. DUMA'S MESSAGE TO BRITAIN. NEW POLICY AND THE JEWS. WAR ON GERMAN TRADE. FOE TO GERMAN MILITARISM. NOT A QUESTION OF SLAV PREDOMINANCE. RUSSIA'S "LITTLE BROTHER."
"The Facts About Belgium"
Belgo-British Plot Alleged by Germany GREAT BRITAIN'S DENIAL. REPLY TO GREAT BRITAIN. GRAY BOOK'S TESTIMONY. BELGIUM'S ANSWER.
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WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY? ATROCITIES OF THE WAR
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THE POPE'S DYING WORDS. GERMAN KAISER'S PROTEST. REPLY TO THE KAISER. CHARGE AGAINST GERMANY. M. DELCASSE'S NOTE. THE BELGIAN MISSION. M. DE WIART'S ADDRESS. PRESIDENT WILSON'S REPLY. OFFICIAL SUMMARY. I. Acts at Linsmeau and Orsmael. II. Report on Aerschot. III. Destruction of Louvain. FURTHER REPORTS. A SUPPLEMENT. "NOT A WORD OF TRUTH." GERMANY'S VERSIONS. LOUVAIN'S ART TREASURES.
Bombardment of Rheims Cathedral POPE BENEDICT SILENT. ATTACK NOT WILLFUL. "SPARE THE CATHEDRAL." THE FRENCH ARE BLAMED THE DAMAGE DONE.
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WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY? THE SOCIALISTS' PART
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HOW INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISTS ARMED AGAINST EACH OTHER. "ENVOY OF MY PARTY." MINISTER JULES GUESDE. "REVOLUTION!" COMPOSURE IS NECESSARY. PRESSURE FOR PEACE. HUGO HAASE AT BRUSSELS. HAASE IN THE REICHSTAG. GERMAN SOCIALISTS DIVIDED. SOCIALISTS STILL GERMANS. "CRITIQUE OF WEAPONS." SOCIALISTS OF ITALY FIRM. BRITISH MANIFESTO. KEIR HARDIE'S QUESTIONS. REPLY TO MINISTER GREY. MR. MACDONALD REPENTS.
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
T. VON BETHMANN-HOLLWEG
COUNT LEOPOLD BERCHTOLD.
SIR EDWARD GREY
W.L. SPENCER CHURCHILL
STATE COUNCILLOR SAZONOF
HIS HOLINESS THE LATE POPE PIUS X.
ALBERT KING OF THE BELGIANS
CARTON DE WIART
EMIL VAN DER VELDE
KEIR HARDIE M.P.
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WHO BEGAN THE WAR, AND WHY?
THE CASE FOR GERMANY
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SPEECHES BY KAISER WILHELM II.
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From the Balcony of the Palace, Berlin, July 31, 1914.
A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.
Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defense.
The sword is being forced into our hand. I hope that if my efforts at the last hour do not succeed in bringing our opponents to see eye to eye with us and in maintaining peace we shall with God's help so wield the sword that we shall restore it to its sheath again with honor.
War would demand enormous sacrifices of blood and property from the German people, but we should show our enemies what it means to provoke Germany.
And now I commend you to God. Go to church. Kneel down before God and pray for His help for our gallant Army.
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Kaiser Wilhelm's Speech from the Balcony of the Palace, Berlin, Aug. 2.
I thank you for the love and loyalty shown me. When I enter upon a fight let all party strife cease. We are German brothers and nothing else. All parties have attacked me in times of peace. I forgive them with all my heart. I hope and wish that the good German sword will emerge victorious in the right.
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SPEECH FROM THE THRONE.
Kaiser Wilhelm II., Opening Special Session of the Reichstag in White Room of the Royal Palace, Berlin, Aug. 4.
Honored Sirs: It is in an hour fraught with fate that I have assembled about me all the representatives of the German people. For almost half a century we have been able to keep to the path of peace. The attempts to attribute a warlike temperament to Germany and to circumscribe its position in the world have often put to severe tests the patience of our people. With unswerving honesty, my Government, even in provoking circumstances, has pursued as its highest aim the development of all moral, spiritual, and economic powers. The world has been witness how tirelessly we strove in the first rank during the pressure and confusion of the last few years to spare the nations of Europe a war between the great powers.
The very grave dangers which had arisen owing to the events in the Balkans appeared to have been overcome, but then the murder of my friend, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, opened up a great abyss. My high ally, the Emperor and King Francis Joseph, was compelled to take up arms to defend the security of his empire against dangerous intrigues from a neighboring State. In the pursuit of her proper interests the Dual Monarchy has found her path obstructed by the Russian Empire. Not only our duty as an ally calls us to the side of Austria-Hungary, but on us falls also the mighty task of defending the ancient community of culture of the two kingdoms and our own position in the world against the attack of hostile powers. With a heavy heart I have been compelled to mobilize my army against a neighbor with whom it has fought side by side on so many fields of battle. With sincere sorrow I saw a friendship broken of which Germany had given faithful proofs. The Imperial Russian Government, yielding to the pressure of an insatiable nationalism, has taken sides with a State which by encouraging criminal attacks has brought on the evil of this war. That France, also, placed herself on the side of our enemies could not surprise us. Too often have our efforts to arrive at friendlier relations with the French Republic come in collision with old hopes and ancient malice.
Honored Sirs: What human insight and power could do to arm a people against the last extremities has been done with your patriotic help. The hostility which has been smouldering for a long time in the East and in the West has now burst into bright flames. The present situation did not proceed from transient conflicts of interest or diplomatic entanglements, it is the result of an ill will which has for many years been active against the strength and the prosperity of the German Empire. We are not incited by lust for conquest, we are inspired by the unyielding determination to keep for ourselves and all future generations the place which God has given us.
From the proofs which have been given you, you will see how my Government, and especially my Chancellor, strove up to the last moment to avert the worst. We grasp the sword in compulsory self-defense, with clean hands and a clean conscience.
To the peoples and races of the German Empire my call goes forth to defend with all their strength and in brotherly co-operation with our ally that which we have created by peaceful labor. After the example of our fathers, firmly and faithfully, sincerely and with chivalry, humbly before God and battling joyfully before the enemy, let us place our trust in the eternal Omnipotence, and may He strengthen our defense and bring it to a good end!
To you, honored sirs, the whole German people, assembled about its Princes and its leaders, look this day. Make your decision unanimously and quickly. That is my heartfelt wish.
Gentlemen (addressing the Deputies directly): You have read what I said to my people the other day from the balcony of my castle. I repeat now that I no longer know any parties. I know only Germans. And in order to testify that you are firmly resolved without distinction of party to stand by my side through danger and death, I call upon the leaders of the different parties in this House to come forward and lay their hands in mine as a pledge.
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TO THE GERMAN ARMY AND NAVY.
Proclamation by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
After three and forty years of peace I call the men of Germany to arms.
It has become necessary to protect our most sacred possessions, the Fatherland, our very hearths against ruthless destruction.
Enemies on every hand! That is the situation. A mighty struggle, a great sacrifice confronts us.
I trust that the old spirit of battle still lives on in the German people, that powerful spirit of battle which grapples with the foe wherever it meets it, be the cost what it may, which has ever been the terror and fear of our enemies.
Soldiers of Germany, in you I place my trust! In each one of you lives the passionate will to conquer, which nothing can subdue. Each one of you knows, if need be, how to die a hero's death.
Remember our great and glorious past!
Remember that you are Germans!
God help us!
Berlin, Schloss, Aug. 6, 1914.
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TO GERMAN WOMEN.
An Appeal from the Kaiserin.
On the summons of the Emperor our people are preparing for an unprecedented struggle, which it did not invoke and which it is only carrying on in its defense. Whoever can bear arms will joyfully hasten to the colors to defend the Fatherland with his blood. The struggle will be gigantic and the wounds to be healed innumerable, therefore I call upon you women and girls of Germany, and all to whom it is not given to fight for our beloved home, for help. Let every one now do what lies in her power to lighten the struggle for our husbands, sons, and brothers. I know that in all ranks of our people, without exception, the will exists to fulfill this high ideal, but may the Lord God strengthen us in our holy work of love, which summons us women to devote all our strength to the Fatherland in its decisive struggle.
The organizations primarily concerned who should be supported first have already sent out notices regarding the mustering of volunteers and the collection of gifts of all kinds.
Berlin, Aug. 6.
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"TO THE LAST BREATH OF MAN AND HORSE."
Proclamation by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Since the foundation of the empire it has been for forty-three years the object of the efforts of myself and my ancestors to preserve the peace of the world and to advance by peaceful means our vigorous development. But our adversaries were jealous of the successes of our work. There has been latent hostility on the east and on the west and beyond the sea. It was borne by us till now, as we were aware of our responsibility and power. Now, however, these adversaries wish to humiliate us, asking that we should look on with crossed arms and watch our enemies preparing themselves for a coming attack. They will not suffer that we maintain resolute fidelity to our ally who is fighting for its position as a great power and with whose humiliation our power and honor would equally be lost. So the sword must decide.
In the midst of perfect peace the enemy surprises us. Therefore to arms! Any dallying, any temporizing would be which our fathers founded; to be or not to be, is the question for the empire which our fathers founded. To be or not to be German power and German existence. We shall resist to the last breath of man and horse, and shall fight out the struggle even against a world of enemies. Never has Germany been subdued when it was united. Forward with God, who will be with us as He was with our ancestors!
Berlin, Aug. 6. WILHELM.
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JOY IN GLORIOUS VICTORY.
Speech of Kaiser at a Parade During Swift German Advance Toward Paris.
Comrades: I have gathered you around me here in order to take joy with you in the glorious victory which our comrades have in several days of hot battle won with their swords. Troops out of every nook and cranny of the empire helped one another in invincible bravery and unshakable loyalty to win great results. There stood together under the leadership of the son of the Bavarian King and fought, with equal blades, troops of all ages, active, reservists, and landwehr.
For our victory we are thankful, in the first place, to our God, (unserem alten Gott.) He will not desert us, since we stand for a holy cause. Many of our comrades have already fallen in battle. They died as heroes for the Fatherland. We will think of them with honor here, and shout to the honor of those still in the field. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
We still have many a bloody battle before us. Let us hope for further successes like this. We shall not relent, and we shall get to the enemy's hide. We shall not lose our faith and trust in our good old God up there, (unserem guten alten Gott dort oben.) We are determined to win, and we must win.
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FIRST SUCCESSFUL BATTLE.
Telegram from Kaiser Wilhelm II. to Chief of Troops in Upper Alsace, Aug. 15.
Grateful to God, Who was with us. I thank you and your troops for the first victory. Please convey to all the troops which took part in the fight my imperial thanks in the name of the Fatherland.
YOUR CHIEF WAR CAPTAIN.
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A PRAYER FOR VICTORY.
By the Kaiser's Order to Supreme Council of the Evangelical Church—To Be Included in the Liturgy Throughout the War.
Almighty and merciful God! God of the armies! We beseech Thee in humility for Thy almighty aid for our German Fatherland. Bless the entire German war force, lead us to victory, and give us grace that we may show ourselves to be Christians toward our enemies as well. Let us soon arrive at the peace which will everlastingly safeguard our free and independent Germany.
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"UP AND AT THE FOES."
Kaiser's Farewell Speech to First Regiment of Foot Guards at Potsdam.
I draw the sword that with God's help I have kept all these years in the scabbard. I have drawn the sword, which without victory and without honor I cannot sheath again. All of you will see to it that only in honor is it returned to the scabbard. You are my guarantee that I can dictate peace to my enemies. Up and at the foes, and down with the enemies of Brandenburg!
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ON VICTORY NEAR METZ.
From Cabinet Order of Kaiser Wilhelm II., Published in Berlin Aug. 23.
The mobilization and concentration of the army is now complete, the German railways having carried out the enormous transport movements with unparalleled certainty and punctuality. With a heart filled with gratitude my first thoughts turn to those who since 1870-71 have worked quietly upon the development of an organization which has emerged from its first serious test with such glorious success. To all who have co-operated with them I wish to express my imperial thanks for their loyal devotion to duty in making possible in obedience to my call the transportation of armed masses of German troops against my enemies. The present achievement [near Metz] convinces me that the railways of the country will be equal to the heaviest demands that might be made upon them during the course of the gigantic struggle in which we are engaged for the future of the German Nation.
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THE SPIRIT OF THE MEN.
Kaiser's Telegram from Dresden to the King of Saxony, Oct. 2.
I am very glad to be able to send you the best reports of the Nineteenth Army Corps and the Twelfth Reserve Corps. I visited yesterday the Third Army and greeted especially the brave 181st Regiment, to which I expressed my recognition. I found your third son and your brother Max as well as Laffert and Kirchbach in the best of health. The spirit among the men is splendid. With such an army we shall be able to complete victoriously the rest of our difficult task. To this end may the Almighty stand by us.
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HIS INDISCRETION WAS "CALCULATED."
Interview With Kaiser Wilhelm II., Oct. 28, 1908, and Its Consequences.
An interview between the German Emperor and "a representative Englishman, who long since passed from public to private life," appeared in The London Telegraph on Oct. 28, 1908, and was the next day authenticated by the German Foreign Office in Berlin with the comment that it was "intended as a message to the English people." This last expression of the Kaiser toward Great Britain—until his declarations on the eve of the present war—deeply stirred the German people in protest and resulted in the Kaiser's pledge to Chancellor von Buelow that henceforth the imperial views would be subject to the bridle of the Ministry and the Council of the Empire. The interview as recorded by the "representative Englishman" was as follows:
Moments sometimes occur in the history of nations when a calculated indiscretion proves of the highest public service. It is for this reason that I have decided to make known the substance of a lengthy conversation which it was my recent privilege to have with the Emperor.
I do so in the hope that it will help to remove that obstinate misconception of the character of the Emperor's feelings toward England, which I fear is deeply rooted in the ordinary Englishman's breast. It is the Emperor's sincere wish that it should be eradicated. He has given repeated proofs of his desire by word and deed. But, to speak frankly, his patience is sorely tried now; he finds himself so continually misrepresented and has so often experienced the mortification of finding that any momentary improvement in relations is followed by renewed outbursts of prejudice and a prompt return to the old attitude of suspicion.
His Majesty spoke with impulsive and unusual frankness, saying: "You English are as mad, mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you that you are completely given over to suspicions that are quite unworthy of a great nation? What more can I do than I have done? I declared with all the emphasis at my command in my speech at the Guildhall that my heart was set upon peace and that it was one of my dearest wishes to live on the best terms with England. Have I ever been false to my word? Falsehood and prevarication are alien to my nature. My actions ought to speak for themselves, but you will not listen to them, but to those who misinterpret and distort them."
Resents a Personal Insult.
"This is a personal insult which I resent; to be forever misjudged, to have my repeated offers of friendship weighed and scrutinized with jealous, mistrustful eyes taxes my patience severely. I have said time after time that I am a friend of England, and your press, or at least a considerable section of it, bids the people of England to refuse my proffered hand and insinuates that the other hand holds a dagger. How can I convince a nation against its will?"
Complaining again of the difficulty imposed on him by English distrust, his Majesty said: "The prevailing sentiment of large sections of the middle and lower classes of my own people is not friendly to England. I am, therefore, so to speak, in the minority in my own land, but it is a minority of the best element, just as it is in England respecting Germany."
The Englishman reminded the Kaiser that not only England but the whole of Europe viewed with disapproval the recent sending of the German Consul at Algiers to Fez and forestalling France and Spain by suggesting the recognition of Sultan Mulai Hafid. The Kaiser made an impatient gesture and exclaimed: "Yes? that is an excellent example of the way German actions are misrepresented," and with vivid directness he defended the aforesaid incident, as the German Government has already done.
The interviewer reminded the Kaiser that an important and influential section of the German newspapers interpreted these acts very differently, and effusively approved of them because they indicated that Germany was bent upon shaping events in Morocco.
"There are mischief makers," replied the Emperor, "in both countries. I will not attempt to weigh their relative capacity for misrepresentation, but the facts are as I have stated. There has been nothing in Germany's recent action in regard to Morocco contrary to the explicit declaration of my love of peace made both at the Guildhall and in my latest speech at Strassburg."
Kaiser and the Boer War.
Reverting to his efforts to show his friendship for England, the Kaiser said they had not been confined to words. It was commonly believed that Germany was hostile to England throughout the Boer war. Undoubtedly the newspapers were hostile and public opinion was hostile. "But what," he asked, "of official Germany? What brought to a sudden stop, indeed, to an absolute collapse, the European tour of the Boer delegates, who were striving to obtain European intervention?"
"They were feted in Holland. France gave them a rapturous welcome. They wished to come to Berlin, where the German people would have crowned them with flowers, but when they asked me to receive them I refused. The agitation immediately died away and the delegates returned empty handed. Was that the action of a secret enemy?
"Again, when the struggle was at its height, the German Government was invited by France and Russia to join them in calling upon England to end the war. The moment had come, they said, not only to save the Boer republics, but also to humiliate England to the dust. What was my reply? I said so far from Germany joining in any concerted European action to bring pressure against England and bring about her downfall Germany would always keep aloof from politics that could bring her into complications with a sea power like England.
"Posterity will one day read the exact terms of a telegram, now in the archives of Windsor Castle, in which I informed the sovereign of England of the answer I returned to the powers which then sought to compass her fall. Englishmen who now insult me by doubting my word should know what my actions were in the hour of their adversity.
"Nor was that all. During your black week in December, 1899, when disasters followed one another in rapid succession, I received a letter from Queen Victoria, my revered grandmother, written in sorrow and affliction and bearing manifest traces of the anxieties which were preying upon her mind and health. I at once returned a sympathetic reply. I did more. I bade one of my officers to procure as exact an account as he could obtain of the number of combatants on both sides and the actual positions of the opposing forces.
"With the figures before me I worked out what I considered the best plan of campaign in the circumstances and submitted it to my General Staff for criticism. Then I dispatched it to England. That document likewise is among the State papers at Windsor awaiting the serenely impartial verdict of history.
"Let me add as a curious coincidence that the plan which I formulated ran very much on the same lines as that actually adopted by Gen. Roberts and carried by him into successful operation. Was that the act of one who wished England ill? Let Englishmen be just and say."
The German Navy.
Touching then upon the English conviction that Germany is increasing her navy for the purpose of attacking Great Britain, the Kaiser reiterated the explanation that Chancellor von Buelow and other Ministers have made familiar, dwelling upon Germany's worldwide commerce, her manifold interests in distant seas, and the necessity for being prepared to protect them. He said:
"Patriotic Germans refuse to assign any bounds to their legitimate commercial ambitions. They expect their interests to go on growing. They must be able to champion them manfully in any quarter of the globe. Germany looks ahead. Her horizons stretch far away. She must be prepared for any eventualities in the Far East. Who can foresee what may take place in the Pacific in the days to come, days not so distant as some believe, but days, at any rate, for which all European powers with Far Eastern interests ought to steadily prepare?
"Look at the accomplished rise of Japan. Think of a possible national awakening in China, and then judge of the vast problems of the Pacific. Only those powers which have great navies will be listened to with respect when the future of the Pacific comes to be solved, and if for that reason only Germany must have a powerful fleet. It may even be that England herself will be glad that Germany has a fleet when they speak together in the great debates of the future."
The interviewer concludes:
"The Emperor spoke with all that earnestness which marks his manner when speaking on deeply pondered subjects. I ask my fellow-countrymen who value the cause of peace to weigh what I have written and revise, if necessary, their estimate of the Kaiser and his friendship for England by his Majesty's own words. If they had enjoyed the privilege of hearing them spoken they would no longer doubt either his Majesty's firm desire to live on the best of terms with England or his growing impatience at the persistent mistrust with which his offer of friendship is too often received."
On Nov. 17 following Prince von Buelow met the Kaiser at Kiel, taking with him evidence of the feeling in Germany regarding the Emperor's published interview and setting forth:
First, that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, is firm in the opinion formulated at the meeting held yesterday that it would be wiser for the Emperor not to express views affecting the relations of the empire with other countries except through his responsible Ministers. This expression, derives weight from the fact that the Governments of Bavaria, Wuerttemberg, and Saxony were represented on the committee.
Second, that the entire Reichstag assented to the declarations made by the speakers on Tuesday that the Emperor had exceeded his constitutional prerogatives in private discussion with foreigners concerning Germany's attitude on controverted questions.
Third, that the feeling of the people at large on this matter was accurately indicated by the press of the country.
The Kaiser's reply was published on the same date in the Reichsanzeiger, in the form of a communication, which read:
During today's audience granted to the Imperial Chancellor, his Majesty, the Emperor and King, listened for several hours to a report by Prince von Buelow. The Imperial Chancellor described the feeling and its causes among the German people in connection with the article published in The Daily Telegraph. He also explained the position he had taken during the course of the debates and interpellations on this subject in the Reichstag. His Majesty the Emperor received the statements and explanations with great earnestness, and then expressed his will as follows:
"Heedless of the exaggerations of public criticism, which are regarded by him as incorrect, his Majesty perceives that his principal imperial task is to insure the stability of the policies of the empire, under the guardianship of constitutional responsibilities. In conformity therewith, his Majesty the Emperor approves the Chancellor's utterances in the Reichstag, and assures Prince von Buelow of his continued confidence."
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WILHELM II.'S LETTER TO LORD TWEEDMOUTH.
Published by The Morning Post of London, Oct. 30, 1914.
The subjoined letter written to the late Lord Tweedmouth by the German Emperor is made public for the first time. It is a literal transcript of the original document in which occur a few slight errors in spelling. The existence of the document was first made known to the public by the military correspondent of The Times, who published a letter on the subject on March 6, 1908, but its contents were not divulged.
The significance of the letter can be understood only in the light of the naval and political situation six years ago. During the preceding year, 1907, The Hague Conference, ostensibly convened in the interests of international peace, had resolved itself into a committee to determine how to diminish the severities of war. There was a section of opinion in this country which was persuaded that the only method of seeking peace was to reduce the navy and army. At the same time the Imperial German Navy was making swift and steady progress, and its menace to British supremacy aroused considerable alarm in this country. Although the British Navy held superiority over the German Navy in ships not of the dreadnought type, the balance in dreadnoughts was virtually even.
It was stated in Parliament that in the year 1916 Germany, according to her naval law, would have thirty-six dreadnoughts, a number which would involve the building by this country of forty-four such vessels in the same period, toward which the Government was only providing two in the current year. It was also stated that in the year 1911 Germany would possess thirteen dreadnoughts and Great Britain only twelve, which statement was founded upon reasonable assumptions. Could Germany reckon upon the continuance of such a relative position, the advantage to her would be very great.
It was at this critical moment that the German Emperor indited his letter to the First Lord of the Admiralty, which is printed below. When the fact became known there was a good deal of public feeling aroused both in this country and abroad. Lord Tweedmouth stated that the letter was a private letter and purely personal. Prince von Buelow informed the Reichstag that the letter was of both a private and political character, adding some remarks concerning the "purely defensive character of our naval programme which," said the Chancellor, "cannot be emphasized too frequently."
The German Foreign Office officially announced that "in his letter the Emperor merely corrected certain erroneous views prevalent in England regarding the development of the German fleet."
Readers are now in a position to judge for themselves the accuracy of these statements. It should be remembered that the reduced navy estimates of 1908-9 were followed by national alarm and the publication of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford's shipbuilding programme and large increase in estimates of the following year. Here is the letter:
The Kaiser's Letter.
Berlin, 14th-2, 1908.
My Dear Lord Tweedmouth—May I intrude on your precious time and ask for a few moments' attention to these lines I venture to submit to you? I see by the daily papers and reviews that a battle royal is being fought about the needs of the navy. I therefore venture to furnish you with some information anent the German naval programme, which it seems is being quoted by all parties to further their ends by trying to frighten peaceable British taxpayers with it as a bogy.
During my last pleasant visit to your hospitable shores I tried to make your authorities understand what the drift of German naval policy is, but I am afraid that my explanations have been either misunderstood or not believed, because I see "German danger" and "German challenge to British naval supremacy" constantly quoted in different articles. This phrase, if not repudiated or corrected, sown broadcast over the country and daily dinned into British ears, might in the end create the most deplorable results.
I therefore deem it advisable, as Admiral of the Fleet, to lay some facts before you to enable you to see clearly that it is absolutely nonsensical and untrue that the German naval bill is to provide a navy meant as a challenge to British naval supremacy. The German fleet is built against nobody at all; it is solely built for Germany's needs in relation with that country's rapidly growing trade. The German naval bill was sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament and published ten years ago, and may be had at any large bookseller's. There is nothing surprising, secret, or underhand in it, and every reader may study the whole course mapped out for the development of the German Navy with the greatest ease.
Thirty to Forty Battleships in 1920.
The law is being adhered to, and provides for about thirty to forty ships of the line in 1920. The number of ships fixed by the bill included the fleet then actually in commission, notwithstanding its material being already old and far surpassed by contemporary types. In other foreign navies the extraordinary rapidity with which improvements were introduced in types of battleships, armaments, and armor made the fleet in commission obsolete before the building programme providing additions to it was half finished.
The obsolete fleet had to be struck off the list, thus leaving a gap, lowering the number of ships below the standard prescribed by the bill. This gap was stopped by using the finished ships to replace the obsolete ones instead of being added to them as originally intended. Therefore, instead of steadily increasing the standing fleet by regular additions it came to a wholesale rebuilding of the entire German Navy. Our actual programme in course of execution is practically only the exchange of old material for new, but not an addition to the number of units originally laid down by the bill of ten years ago, which is being adhered to.
It seems to me that the main fault in the discussions going on in the papers is the permanent ventilating of so-called two to three or more power standard and then only exemplifying on one power, which is invariably Germany. It is fair to suppose that each nation builds and commissions its navy according to its needs and not only with regard to the programme of other countries. Therefore, it would be the simplest thing for England to say: "I have a world-wide empire and the greatest trade of the world, and to protect them I must have so and so many battleships, cruisers, &c., as are necessary to guarantee the supremacy of the sea to me, and they shall, accordingly, be built and manned."
That is the absolute right of your country, and nobody anywhere would lose a word about it, and whether it be 60 or 90 or 100 battleships, that would make no difference and certainly no change in the German naval bill. May the numbers be as you think fit, everybody here would understand it, but the people would be very thankful over here if at last Germany was left out of the discussion, for it is very galling to the Germans to see their country continually held up as the sole danger and menace to Great Britain by the whole press of the different contending parties, considering that other countries are building, too, and there are even larger fleets than the German.
Fears German Retaliation.
Doubtless, when party faction runs high there is often a lamentable lack of discrimination in the choice of weapons, but I really must protest that the German naval programme should be only one for her exclusive use, or that such a poisoned view should be forged as a German challenge to British supremacy of the sea. If permanently used mischief may be created at home, and the injured feeling engendering the wish for retaliation in the circle of the German Naval League as a representative of the nation which would influence public opinion and place the Government in a very disagreeable position by trying to force it to change its programme through undue pressure, difficult to ignore.
In a letter which Lord Esher caused to be published a short time ago he wrote that every German, from the Emperor down to the last man, wished for the downfall of Sir John Fisher. Now I am at a loss to tell whether the supervision of the foundations and drains of royal palaces is apt to qualify somebody for the judgment of naval affairs in general. As far as regards German affairs, the phrase is a piece of unmitigated balderdash, and has created immense merriment in the circles of those here who know. But I venture to think that such things ought not to be written by people who are high placed, as they are liable to hurt public feelings over here.
Of course I need not assure you that nobody here dreams of wishing to influence Great Britain in the choice of those to whom she means to give the direction of her navy or to disturb them in the fulfillment of their noble task. It is expected that the choice will always fall on the best and ablest, and their deeds will be followed with interest and admiration by their brother officers in the German Navy.
It is, therefore, preposterous to infer that the German authorities work for or against persons in official positions in foreign countries. It is as ridiculous as it is untrue, and I hereby repudiate such calumny. Besides, to my humble notion, this perpetual quoting of the German danger is utterly unworthy of the great British Nation, with its world-wide empire and mighty navy. There is something nearly ludicrous about it. The foreigners in other countries might easily conclude that Germans must be an exceptionally strong lot, as they seem to be able to strike terror into the hearts of the British, who are five times their superiors.
I hope your Lordship will read these lines with kind consideration. They are written by one who is an ardent admirer of your splendid navy, who wishes it all success, and who hopes that its ensign may ever wave on the same side as the German Navy's, and by one who is proud to wear a British naval uniform of Admiral of the Fleet, which was conferred on him by the late great Queen of blessed memory.
Once more the German naval bill is not aimed at England and is not a challenge to British supremacy of the sea, which will remain unchallenged for generations to come. Let us all remember the warning Admiral Sir John Fisher gave to his hearers in November, when so cleverly he cautioned them not to get scared by using the admirable phrase "if Eve had not always kept her eye on the apple she would not have eaten it, and we should not now be bothered with clothes."
I remain yours truly,
WILLIAM I. R., Admiral of the Fleet.
* * * * *
Attacks Kaiser's Veracity.
The Morning Post, commenting on the letter of the Kaiser, says:
It is not usual for an Emperor to address a Minister of a foreign country with reference to the affairs of his department. It is a fact that it is not done. Lord Tweedmouth said the letter was a private letter. The German Chancellor, Prince von Buelow, said the letter partook of both a private and a political character. The fact remains that it involved an extraordinary breach of etiquette. There is no reflection cast upon the late Lord Tweedmouth. No one can help receiving a letter from an Emperor if that monarch condescends to dispatch it. Few persons, perhaps, could help being influenced, albeit unconsciously influenced, by the perusal of such an epistle.
Perhaps the German Emperor reflected upon that psychological contingency; for to what conclusion is the whole tenor of the letter directed? That the German Navy existed solely for purposes of defense in case of aggression and for the protection of German commerce, and that it was no part of German policy, and never had been, to menace the sea power of Britain.
Now turn to the notorious preamble of the German navy law of 1900, which in his letter the Emperor cites as a guarantee of good faith. It is there stated that the German Navy must be made so powerful that it would be dangerous for any nation, even the strongest maritime nation, to attack it.
If that is not a challenge, what is? Had it not been in terms a challenge the preamble would surely have run that it was not the intention to make the German Navy so strong that the strongest naval power could not attack it without danger to that power.
* * * * *
The Mighty Fate of Europe
As Interpreted by Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, German Imperial Chancellor.
* * * * *
"YOUR HEARTS FOR GOD, YOUR FISTS ON THE ENEMY."
Speech from Balcony of Chancellor's Official Residence, Berlin, Aug. 1.
At this serious hour in order to give expression to your feelings for your Fatherland you have come to the house of Bismarck, who with Emperor William the Great and Field Marshal von Moltke welded the German Empire for us.
We wished to go on living in peace in the empire which we have developed in forty-four years of peaceful labor.
The whole work of Emperor William has been devoted to the maintenance of peace. To the last hour he has worked for peace in Europe, and he is still working for it. Should all his efforts prove vain and should the sword be forced into our hands we will take the field with a clear conscience in the knowledge that we did not seek war. We shall then wage war for our existence and for the national honor to the last drop of our blood.
In the gravity of this hour I remind you of the words of Prince Frederick Charles to the men of Brandenburg:
"Let your hearts beat for God and your fists on the enemy."
* * * * *
AS ONE MAN FOR THE KAISER.
Speech from Balcony of Royal Palace, Berlin, Aug. 2.
All stand as one man for our Kaiser, whatever our opinions or our creeds. I am sure that all the young German men are ready to shed their blood for the fame and greatness of Germany. We can only trust in God, Who hitherto has always given us victory.
* * * * *
DECLARES FOR WAR.
Speech Delivered in the Reichstag, Berlin, Afternoon of Aug. 4.
A mighty fate has descended upon Europe. Because we were struggling for the esteem of the German Empire in the world, we have for forty-four years lived in peace and safeguarded the peace of Europe. In peaceful industry we have become strong and mighty and in consequence envied. With patience we have borne that, under the pretext that Germany was desirous of war, hostility toward us was being nursed and chains forged for us both in the East and in the West.
We wished to continue to live in peaceful industry, and, like an unexpressed vow, there was passed on from Kaiser to the youngest soldier: "Only in defense of a righteous cause shall our sword be drawn." (Hearty applause.) The day when we must draw it has appeared, contrary to our desire, contrary to our honest efforts to avoid it. Russia has applied the firebrand to the house. We find ourselves in a forced war with Russia and France.
Gentlemen, a series of documents, composed in the rush of events, is in your hands. Allow me to place before you the facts which characterize our attitude.
From the very beginning of the Austrian conflict we strove and worked toward the end that this trouble remain confined to Austria-Hungary and Servia. All Cabinets, especially that of England, take the same stand; only Russia declares that she must have a word in the decision of this conflict. Therewith the danger of European entanglements arises. As soon as the first authentic reports of the military preparations in Russia reached us we declared in a friendly but emphatic manner in St. Petersburg that war measures and military preparations would force us also to prepare, and that mobilization is closely akin to war.
Russia asserts in what is an apparently friendly manner that she is not mobilizing against us. In the meantime England tries to mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg, in which she is warmly supported by us. On July 28 the Kaiser telegraphed the Czar, asking him to consider that Austria-Hungary has the right and that it is her duty to defend herself against Servian intrigues, which threaten to undermine her existence. The Kaiser called the attention of the Czar to their common monarchical interests with regard to the Serajevo outrage, and asked him personally to support him in order to establish harmony between Vienna and St. Petersburg.
At about the same hour in which this telegram was sent the Czar asked the Kaiser for his support and requested him to advise Vienna to be moderate in its demands. The Kaiser assumed the role of mediator. Hardly had he begun his activity when Russia mobilized its entire fighting force against Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary, however, had mobilized only those army corps which were directed against Servia; in the north there were only two army corps and these far from the Russian border.
The Kaiser immediately called the attention of the Czar to the fact that this mobilization of his forces against Austria-Hungary made his position as mediator difficult or absolutely impossible. In spite of this we continued our mediatorial activities in Vienna, going to the utmost limits of consistency with the terms of our federal treaty. ["Very true! Hear, hear!"] During this time Russia again spontaneously assured us that her military preparations were not directed against us. ["Hear, hear, fie!"]
The 31st of July arrived. In Vienna the decision was to be made. In the meantime we had succeeded with our negotiations to reaching a point where Vienna resumed intercourse with St. Petersburg, which for some time had been discontinued, but before the final decision was reached in Vienna the news arrived that Russia had mobilized its entire fighting force, which meant also against us. ["Hear, hear!"]
The Russian Government, which from repeated admonitions knew what mobilizing on our borders meant, did not notify us of this mobilization and gave us absolutely no explanation. ["Hear! hear!"] Not until the afternoon of July 31 did the Kaiser receive a message from the Czar in which he assured him that the attitude of his army was not hostile toward us. ["Hear! hear!" and laughter.]
However, the mobilization against us on the Russian border was on the night of July 31 already in full progress. While we, at the request of Russia, were mediating in Vienna, the Russian Army appeared on our long, almost entirely open border. France, although not yet mobilizing, was making preparations for war. And we, up to this point, had intentionally not then called a single soldier of the reserve, for the sake of European peace. ["Bravo!"]
Should we continue to wait with patience until the powers by which we are surrounded choose the moment for attack? ["No!"] To expose Germany to this danger would have been criminal! [Stormy, concerted, prolonged "Very true and bravo!"—also from the Social Democrats.] Therefore, on July 31 we demanded that Russia demobilize, this being the only measure which could save the peace of Europe. [Hearty approval.] The Imperial Ambassador received, furthermore, the order to declare to the Russian Government that in case they did not comply with our demands they should consider that a state of war exists.
The Imperial Ambassador performed this mission. Up till the present we have not learned Russia's answer to this demand. ["Hear, hear!"] Telegraphic reports concerning it have not yet reached us, although the wire still transmits less important messages. ["Hear, hear!"] Therefore, on Aug. 1, at 5 o'clock, when the appointed period of grace was long past, the Kaiser considered it necessary to mobilize.
At the same time we had to make sure of the position France would take. To our direct question whether in case of a German-Russian war she would remain neutral, France answered that she would do what she had to do in her own interests. [Laughter.] That was an evasive if not a negative answer to our question.
Declares France Began War.
In spite of this the Kaiser gave the order that the French border should be respected. The command was strictly enforced, with a single exception. France, which mobilized simultaneously with us, declared that she would respect a zone of ten kilometers from the border. ["Hear, hear!"] And what happened in reality? There were bomb-throwing flyers, cavalry patrols, invading companies in the Reichsland, Alsace-Lorraine. ["Unheard of!"] Thereby France, although the condition of war had not yet been declared, had attacked our territory.
Concerning the French complaints in regard to violations of the border, I have received from the Chief of the General Staff the following report: Only one offense has been committed. Contrary to an emphatic order a patrol of the Fourteenth Army Corps, led by an officer, crossed the border on Aug. 2. They apparently were killed. Only one man returned. However, long before the crossing of the border French flyers were dropping bombs in Southern Germany, and at Schluchtpass the French troops had attacked our border troops.
Until the present our troops have confined their activity to the protection of our borders. They are now on the defense, and necessity recognizes no law. ["Very true!"]
Our troops have occupied Luxemburg, and perhaps have also found it necessary to enter Belgian territory. [Hearty applause.] This is contrary to international law. The French Government has declared in Brussels they will respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as she respects the opponent. We knew, however, that France was ready to invade Belgium. ["Hear, hear!"] France could wait; we, however, could not, because a French invasion in our lower Rhein flank would have proved fatal.
So we were forced to disregard the protests of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. We shall try to make good the injustice we have committed as soon as our military goal has been reached. [Applause.] Who like we are fighting for the highest, must only consider how victory can be gained. [Enthusiastic applause in entire house.]
Gentlemen, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Austria-Hungary. With reference to England, the declaration which Sir Edward Grey made in the House of Commons yesterday plainly shows our attitude. We have assured England that as long as she remains neutral our fleet will not attack the northern coast of France and that the territorial integrity and independence of Belgium will not be violated. This declaration I repeat before the whole world, and I can add that so long as England remains neutral we are prepared in case of reciprocity to refrain from all hostile operations against French merchant vessels. [Applause.]
Gentlemen, so much for the events. I repeat the words of the Kaiser: "With a clear conscience Germany goes to the battlefield." [Enthusiastic approval.] We are fighting for the fruits of our peaceful industry, for the inheritance of a great past, and for our future.
The fifty years of which Moltke spoke, and in which we should stand armed and ready to protect our inheritance and the acquisitions of 1870, have not yet passed. The hour of trial for the German nation has struck, but we are facing it with confidence. [Stormy approval.]
Our army is in the field, our fleet is ready for battle, and behind it stands the entire German Nation. [Enthusiastic applause from the entire house.] The entire nation! [with a gesture particularly directed toward the Social Democrats. Renewed applause, in which the Social Democrats also joined.] You, gentlemen, realize your duty in its entirety. The question needs no further consideration, and I request speedy action. [Enthusiastic applause.]
* * * * *
 The Times of London contained on Aug. 12, 1914, the following:
"The statement made by the German Imperial Chancellor to the Reichstag on Aug. 4, which we published yesterday and reproduce below, lends piquancy to a communication that reached us from an influential quarter in Germany on Aug. 2. The communication, which we give in its original form, bore the name of a personage holding a prominent position in Germany, and standing in a close personal relationship to the German Emperor. It was evidently timed for publication on the morning of Aug. 3, the day of Sir Edward Grey's historic speech in the House of Commons":
Aug. 2, 1914.
I hear with astonishment that in France and elsewhere in the world it is imagined that Germany wants to carry on an aggressive war, and that she had with this aim brought about the present situation. It is said that the Emperor was of the opinion that the moment had come to have a final reckoning with his enemies; but what a terrible error that is! Whoever knows the Emperor as I do, whoever knows how very seriously he takes the responsibility of the crown, how his moral ideas are rooted in true religious feeling, must be astonished that any one could attribute such motives to him.
He has not wanted the war; it has been forced upon him by the might of the circumstances. He has worked unswervingly to keep the peace, and has together with England thrown his whole influence into the scales to find a peaceful solution, in order to save his people from the horrors of war. But everything has been wrecked upon the attitude of Russia, which in the middle of negotiations which offered good outlook of success mobilized her forces, wherewith she proved that she did not mean in earnest what her assurances of peaceful intentions indicated.
Now Germany's frontiers are menaced by Russia which drags her allies into the war, now Germany's honor is at stake. Is it possible under these circumstances that the most peace-loving monarch can do otherwise than take to the sword in order to defend the most sacred interests of the nation?
And, finally, the German people! In them is firmly rooted the word of Prince Bismarck against aggressive wars: "One must not try to look into the cards of Fate."
It must be stated again: Russia alone forces the war upon Europe. Russia alone must carry the full weight of responsibility.
* * * * *
STATEMENT TO AMERICA.
Issued to The Associated Press from General Headquarters, Sept. 2.
I do not know what is thought of this war in America. I assume there have been published in America the telegrams exchanged between the German Emperor, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of England, containing the history of the events that preceded the outbreak of the war, and which bears irrefutable testimony of how the Emperor, until the last moment, strove hard to preserve the peace.
These efforts had to be futile, as Russia, under all circumstances, had resolved upon war, and as England, which for decades had encouraged the anti-German nationalism in Russia and France, did not avail herself of the splendid opportunity offered her to prove her often-emphasized love of peace, otherwise the war between Germany and France and England could have been averted.
When once the archives are opened the world will learn how often Germany extended to England her friendly hand, but England did not desire the friendship of Germany. Jealous of the development of Germany, and feeling that by German efficiency and German industry she has been surpassed in some fields, she had the desire to crush Germany by brute force, as she in former times subdued Spain, Holland, and France. She believed the moment had arrived, and therefore the entry of German troops into Belgium gave her a welcome pretext to take part in the war.
Germany, however, was forced to enter Belgium because she had to forestall the planned French advance, and Belgium only awaited this advance to join France. That only a pretext was involved as far as England is concerned is proved by the fact that already on the afternoon of Aug. 2, that is, prior to the violation of Belgium neutrality by Germany, Sir Edward Grey assured the French Ambassador unconditionally of the help of England in case the German fleet attacked the French coast.
Moral scruple, however, the English policy does not know. And thus the English people, who always posed as the protagonist of freedom and right, has allied itself with Russia, the representative of the most terrible barbarism, a country that knows no spiritual or no religious freedom, that tramples upon the freedom of peoples as well as of individuals. Already England is beginning to recognize that she has made a mistake in her calculations, and that Germany will master her enemies. She is therefore trying by the pettiest means to injure Germany as much as possible in her commerce and colonies, by instigating Japan, regardless of the consequences to the cultural community of the white race, to a pillaging expedition against Kiao-Chau, and leading the negroes in Africa to fight against the Germans in the colonies.
Having strangled the news service of Germany to the whole world, and having opened the campaign against us with a falsehood, England will tell your countrymen that the German troops burned down Belgian villages and cities, but will pass over in silence the fact that Belgian girls gouged out the eyes of defenseless wounded. Officials of Belgian cities have invited our officers to dinner and shot and killed them across the table. Contrary to all international law, the whole civilian population of Belgium was called out, and after having at first shown friendliness, carried on in the rear of our troops a terrible warfare with concealed weapons.
Belgian women cut the throats of soldiers whom they had quartered in their homes while they were sleeping. England also will say nothing of the dumdum bullets which are being used by the English and French despite all conventions and their hypocritical proclamations of humanity, which can be seen here in their original packing as they were found on French and English prisoners of war.
The Emperor has authorized me to say all this and to state that he has full confidence in the sense of justice of the American people, which will not allow itself to be deceived through the war of falsehood which our enemies are conducting against us.
The statement of the Chancellor concludes as follows:
Every one who has lived in Germany since the outbreak of the war has been able to witness the great moral uprising of all Germans who, pressed hard on all sides, cheerfully take the field for the defense of their rights and their existence; every one knows that this people is not capable of any unnecessary cruelty or of any brutality. We will win, thanks to the great moral strength which our just cause gives to our troops, and in the end the greatest falsehoods will be able to obscure our victories as little as they do our rights.
* * * * *
Speech Delivered in the Reichstag, March 30, 1911.
I have asked to speak in order to make a few brief remarks on the question of disarmament and arbitration. The Social Democratic motion proposes that I should take steps to bring about a general limitation of armaments. As a matter of fact, the idea of disarmament is being constantly discussed by pacifists in Parliaments and in Congresses far and wide. Even the first peace conference at The Hague had to confine itself to expressing the wish that the Governments should devote themselves to the continued study of the question.
Germany has responded to this desire, but has been able to find no suitable formula, and I am not aware that other Governments have been more successful. The time when wars were made by Cabinets is past. The feelings which here in Europe may lead to war lie elsewhere.
They have their roots in antagonisms which must be found in popular sentiment. Everybody knows how easily this sentiment is influenced and how, unfortunately, in many cases, it abandons itself helplessly to irresponsible press agitations. A counterpoise to all such and similar influences can but be desired. I shall be the first to welcome it whenever international efforts succeed in creating such a counterpoise.
But if I am to take practical steps and am to propose mutual disarmament to the other powers, then general pacific assurances and adjurations are not enough. With Germany there is no need for such assurances or adjurations, in view of her constant policy throughout forty years, which shows that we seek no quarrels in the world. I should have to submit a fixed, definite programme. Then I should have to consider in all sobriety whether such a programme could be drawn up and carried out. Any one who makes uncertain and vague proposals can easily become a disturber of the peace rather than a peacemaker.
I shall have to decline to draw up such a formula and submit it to an international congress.
England's Naval Police.
England is convinced, and has repeatedly declared, in spite of her desires for the limitation of expenditure on armaments and for the adjustment of any disputes that may arise by arbitral procedure, that her fleet must in all circumstances be superior, or at any rate equal, to any possible combination in the world. England has a perfect right to strive for such a state of things, and, precisely because of the position that I take up toward the disarmament question, I am the last to cast doubts upon it. It is quite another thing, however, to make such a claim the basis of a convention which must be recognized by all the other powers in peaceful agreement. What if counterclaims are raised and the other powers are not satisfied with the roles assigned to them?
One only requires to propound these questions in order to see things would not go well for European dignity at any world congress which had to decide upon such claims.
And then armies. If, for example, Germany should be required to reduce her army by 100,000 men, by how many men must the other powers diminish their armies? Notwithstanding all the pacific assurances which, thank God, are being given everywhere, every nation would reply to me at any preliminary inquiry that it claims that position in the world which corresponds with the sum of its national power, that the strength of its defensive forces must be adapted to this claim. At any rate, I would give no other reply for Germany. I should be touching the honor and national sentiment of any other people if I expected any other statement from it.
Question of Control.
Every attempt at international disarmament must break down on the question of control, which is absolutely impracticable. A classic example of that is afforded by Prussia when overthrown by Napoleon. Her army was to be limited to 45,000 men, but her patriotism, notwithstanding the most ruthless application of every means of control, managed to raise an army four times as large. The question of disarmament is insoluble so long as men are men and States are States.
In the course of the debate reference has been made to the recent utterances of the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons on the disarmament question. The English Minister gave expression to the idea that a reciprocal exchange of information concerning the naval construction of both countries would insure them against surprises, and that thereby both countries would be convinced that they were not trying mutually to outstrip each other, while other powers would thereby be kept informed regarding the relations of Germany and England, and so the exchange of announcements would, on the whole, serve to promote peace.
We were all the more able to adhere to this idea as our naval building programme has always lain open. We have already declared our readiness to come to an understanding on this point with England, in the hope that it may bring about a desired appeasement.
World-embracing international arbitration treaties dictated by an international areopagus I consider just as impossible as general international disarmament. Germany takes up no hostile position toward arbitration. In all the new German treaties of commerce there are arbitration clauses. In the main it was due to Germany's initiative that an agreement was arrived at at the second Hague conference for the establishment of an International Prize Court.
Arbitration treaties can certainly contribute in a great measure to maintain and fortify peaceful relations. But strength must depend on readiness for war. The dictum still holds good that the weak becomes the prey of the strong. If a nation can not or will not spend enough on her defensive forces for her to be able to make her way in the world, then she falls back into the second rank.
* * * * *
Austria-Hungary's Version of the War
By Kaiser Franz Josef and Count Berchtold.
* * * * *
The Imperial Rescript and Manifesto.
Ischl, July 28.
Dear Count Stuergkh:
I have resolved to instruct the Ministers of my Household and Foreign Affairs to notify the Royal Servian Government of the beginning of a state of war between the Monarchy and Servia. In this fateful hour I feel the need of turning to my beloved peoples. I command you, therefore, to publish the inclosed manifesto.
To my peoples! It was my fervent wish to consecrate the years which, by the grace of God, still remain to me, to the works of peace and to protect my peoples from the heavy sacrifices and burdens of war. Providence, in its wisdom, has otherwise decreed. The intrigues of a malevolent opponent compel me, in the defense of the honor of my Monarchy, for the protection of its dignity and its position as a power, for the security of its possessions, to grasp the sword after long years of peace.
With a quickly forgetful ingratitude, the Kingdom of Servia, which, from the first beginnings of its independence as a State until quite recently, had been supported and assisted by my ancestors, has for years trodden the path of open hostility to Austria-Hungary. When, after three decades of fruitful work for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I extended my Sovereign rights to those lands, my decree called forth in the Kingdom of Servia, whose rights were in nowise injured, outbreaks of unrestrained passion and the bitterest hate. My Government at that time employed the handsome privileges of the stronger, and with extreme consideration and leniency only requested Servia to reduce her army to a peace footing and to promise that, for the future, she would tread the path of peace and friendship. Guided by the same spirit of moderation, my Government, when Servia, two years ago, was embroiled in a struggle with the Turkish Empire, restricted its action to the defense of the most serious and vital interests of the Monarchy. It was to this attitude that Servia primarily owed the attainment of the objects of that war.
The hope that the Servian Kingdom would appreciate the patience and love of peace of my Government and would keep its word has not been fulfilled. The flame of its hatred for myself and my house has blazed always higher; the design to tear from us by force inseparable portions of Austria-Hungary has been made manifest with less and less disguise. A criminal propaganda has extended over the frontier with the object of destroying the foundations of State order in the southeastern part of the monarchy; of making the people, to whom I, in my paternal affection, extended my full confidence, waver in its loyalty to the ruling house and to the Fatherland; of leading astray its growing youth and inciting it to mischievous deeds of madness and high treason. A series of murderous attacks, an organized, carefully prepared, and well carried out conspiracy, whose fruitful success wounded me and my loyal peoples to the heart, forms a visible bloody track of those secret machinations which were operated and directed in Servia.
A halt must be called to these intolerable proceedings and an end must be put to the incessant provocations of Servia. The honor and dignity of my monarchy must be preserved unimpaired, and its political, economic, and military development must be guarded from these continual shocks. In vain did my Government make a last attempt to accomplish this object by peaceful means and to induce Servia, by means of a serious warning, to desist. Servia has rejected the just and moderate demands of my Government and refused to conform to those obligations the fulfillment of which forms the natural and necessary foundation of peace in the life of peoples and States. I must therefore proceed by force of arms to secure those indispensable pledges which alone can insure tranquillity to my States within and lasting peace without.
In this solemn hour I am fully conscious of the whole significance of my resolve and my responsibility before the Almighty. I have examined and weighed everything, and with a serene conscience I set out on the path to which my duty points. I trust in my peoples, who, throughout every storm, have always rallied in unity and loyalty around my throne, and have always been prepared for the severest sacrifices for the honor, the greatness, and the might of the Fatherland. I trust in Austria-Hungary's brave and devoted forces, and I trust in the Almighty to give the victory to my arms.
* * * * *
DECLARATION OF WAR.
Published in Special Edition of Official Gazette, Vienna, July 28.
The Royal Government of Servia not having given a satisfactory reply to the note presented to it by the Austro-Hungarian Minister in Belgrade on July 23, 1914, the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary finds it necessary itself to safeguard its rights and interests and to have recourse for this purpose to force of arms. Austria-Hungary, therefore, considers itself from this moment in a state of war with Servia.
* * * * *
"DAYS OF WORLD'S HISTORY."
Congratulatory Telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm II., Aug. 27.
Victory after victory. God is with you. He will be with us also. I most sincerely congratulate you, dear friend, also the young hero, your dear son, the Crown Prince, and the Crown Prince Rupprecht, as well as the incomparably brave German Army. Words fail to express what moves me and, with me, my army, in these days of world's history.
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WILL OF WILHELM II. THAT SWUNG THE SWORD.
Kaiser Franz Josef's Address in Bestowing the Great Cross on the German Kaiser, September, 1914.
The glorious victories, so crushing to the foe, which the German Army has won in battle under your chief command owe their begetting and their success to your iron will, which sharpened and swung the heavy sword.
To the laurel that crowns you as victor I wish to add, if I may, the highest military honor which we possess, in begging you to take in true brotherhood of arms and as a token of my appreciation the Great Cross of my military Order of Marie Theresa. The decoration itself, dear friend, shall be handed to you by a special envoy as soon as it is convenient for you.
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A PURELY DEFENSIVE WAR.
By Count Berchtold, Foreign Minister for Austria-Hungary.
(Copyright, Evening News Publishing Company of Newark, N.J., 1914.)
Austria-Hungary looks upon this war as a purely defensive one, which has been forced on her by the agitation directed by Russia against her very existence. Austria-Hungary has given many proofs in late years of her peaceful intention. She refrained from any interference with arms in the Balkan war, though her interests were at stake. Subsequent events have proved what a serious danger the increase in territory and prestige which it brought Servia were for Austria-Hungary. Servia's ambitions have since grown and have been solely directed against the Dual Monarchy. Russia has tacitly approved of Servia's action because Russian statesmen wish to form an iron ring of enemies around Austria-Hungary and Germany in order that Russia's grasp on Constantinople and on Asia should never again be meddled with. Austro-Hungarian soldiers are fighting for their homes and for the maintenance of their country, the Russians are fighting to help the Russian Czar to gain the rule of the world, to destroy all his neighbors who may be dangerous to Russian ambitions. England is helping the Russians to oust her German rival. She feared for some time that German culture and German scientific methods would prove the stronger in a peaceful competition, and she now hopes to crush Germany with the help of Russia and France. And France is fighting to win back Alsace-Lorraine, to take her revenge on Germany, which the French nation has been aiming at for the last forty-four years.
That is how Austria-Hungary looks upon the war. She never wished for territorial increase, she wished for peace and that her people should develop in safety.
Germany equally had nothing to gain by a war, but Germany knows that Austria-Hungary's enemies are her enemies and that the dismemberment of the Hapsburg monarchy would mean the isolation of the German Empire.
And so, after all efforts to keep Russia and England from breaking the peace of Europe had failed, she drew her sword to defend her and her allies' (ally's) interests.
Truth and honor are on the side of the two empires in this war, the unspeakable inventions and prevarications published by the French, Russian, and English press in the last weeks alone must prove to the American people who can afford to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in this war.
The Austro-Hungarian and German people have a clear conscience and need fear no misrepresentation of their action.
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A DISCORDANT NOTE.
By Count Michael Karolyi, Leader of Hungarian Independent Party, New York, July 27.
If Austria had pursued a policy of directly helping the Balkan countries, if Austria had in the past made it a point to be actively their friend, this war would not confront us. Since it has come, of course all Hungarians will support the empire and internal differences will be dismissed while the empire is imperiled.
As for the loyalty of the many Serbs within Austria-Hungary it is hard to say. There again we must hope that they will take the Austrian side. But the Austrian policy toward the Balkan countries has been wrong, all wrong.
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A German Review of the Evidence
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Certified by Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, German Ex-Colonial Secretary.
The following is presented as a complete defense of the German position in the present war and is based upon examination of the German and English "White Papers." It was prepared in Germany and forwarded to Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, who had it translated for THE NEW YORK TIMES of Nov. 1, 1914.
Dr. Dernburg gives this statement his full approval and accepts complete responsibility for it.
Two of the five great European powers that are at present engaged in war, Austria-Hungary and Russia, whose differences for years have been constantly increasing in sharpness, and after the tragedy in Serajevo became impossible to be bridged by diplomacy, conjured up the frightful struggle.
With these two, two other powers are so closely united by alliances that their participation in the war also was unavoidable; they are Germany and France.
There are two other great European powers whose relations to the two aforesaid groups before the war were very much alike in the essential points. Just as Italy was politically tied by alliance to the central powers, so England was with the Franco-Russian Alliance. Hence it was uncertain how these countries, each geographically removed from the main body of the Continent, would act in a war, and it seemed quite possible that both would decide to remain neutral.
As a matter of fact, the Italian Government came to the view that such a stand would be for the best interests of its country.
This decision might have made it considerably more easy for England to also maintain her neutrality, which, from political, economical, and ethical reasons, would have been advantageous and natural for the Island Empire. To the surprise and indignation of all those Germans who for years had been working toward an adjustment of the conflicting interests of both countries—among these ought to be mentioned, above all, the Kaiser and the Imperial Chancellor—the Liberal British Ministry immediately declared war on Germany, and did not confine itself to a naval war, but, in keeping with agreements reached years ago between the English and the French General Staffs, as is now admitted, equipped an expeditionary army, thus considerably strengthening the French forces.
The question arises, "What reasons led British politics to this monstrous step?"
Much has been written during the last weeks from the German side, criticising most sharply and with great justification the motive of the London Cabinet. In the following discussion we will confine ourselves to an impartial review of the documents published by the English Government itself in its own defense.
The essential part of this justification is contained in the "Correspondence Concerning the European Crisis," placed before the British Parliament shortly after the start of the war, which is known as the British "White Paper." In amplification are to be considered the "White Book" placed by the German Government before the Reichstag and the "Orange Book" published by Russia.
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THE RUSSIAN MOBILIZATION.
In a public speech, delivered Sept. 19, the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Lloyd George, according to the report of The Westminster Gazette, which may be considered as his organ, characterized the quarrel between Germany and Russia in the picturesque manner which this statesman prefers, as follows:
GERMANY—I insist that you stand aside with crossed arms while Austria strangles your little brother, (Servia.)
RUSSIA—Just you touch this little fellow and I will tear your ramshackle empire limb from limb.
We will not waste words in considering the flippant form here used in a discussion of an unspeakably bloody and world-historic conflict. But this expression in very pregnant form makes Russia appear in the light in which the London powers-that-be desire to show the empire of the Czar to the British people, viz., in the role of the noble-hearted protector of persecuted innocence, while Germany, supporting and egging on Austria-Hungary, is shown as morally responsible for the war.
Cites English Documents.
This, also, is the chain of thought in the speech of the British Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Aug. 4. Translations of this speech have been spread by the British Government in neutral countries in hundreds of thousands of copies under the title: "The Power Responsible for War Is Germany."
Now, we claim that the British "White Paper" itself furnishes irrefutable proof that not Germany, which up to the last moment offered the hand of mediation, but Russia is responsible for the war, and that the Foreign Office at London was fully cognizant of this fact.
Furthermore, the "White Paper" shows that England's claim that she entered this war solely as a protector of the small nations is a fable.
The documents reproduced in the "White Paper" do not begin until July 20, and only a few introductory dispatches before the 24th are given. The first of the very important reports of the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, Sir George Buchanan, to the Secretary of State, Grey, is dated on that day; on the same day the note addressed by Austria-Hungary to the Servian Government had been brought to the knowledge of the European Cabinets, and the British Ambassador conferred with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Sazonof, over this matter. The French Minister also took part in this conference. When the latter and M. Sazonof, in the most insistent way, tried to prove to Buchanan that England, together with Russia and France, must assume a threatening attitude toward Austria-Hungary and Germany, the British Ambassador replied:
I said that I would telegraph a full report to you of what their Excellencies had just said to me. I could not, of course, speak in the name of his Majesty's Government, but personally I saw no reason to expect any declaration of solidarity from his Majesty's Government that would entail an unconditional engagement on their part to support Russia and France by force of arms. Direct British interests in Servia were nil, and a war on behalf of that country would never be sanctioned by British public opinion.—(British "White Paper" No. 6.)
The British Ambassador thereupon asked the question whether Russia was thinking of eventually declaring war on Austria. The following was the answer:
M. Sazonof said that he himself thought that Russian mobilization would at any rate have to be carried out; but a council of Ministers was being held this afternoon to consider the whole question....
The dispatch continues:
French Ambassador and M. Sazonof both continue to press me for a declaration of complete solidarity of his Majesty's Government with French and Russian Governments.... (British "White Paper" No. 6.)
This shows plainly that the Russian mobilization must have been planned even before July 24, for otherwise M. Sazonof could not have spoken of the necessity of carrying it through.
It is furthermore very remarkable that the Russian Minister on this early day spoke of the mobilization in general and not of the partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary.
Finally we find that the British Government was fully informed at the very latest on July 24—it may have had before it previous documents, but they are not contained in the "White Paper"—concerning Russian mobilization and thereby the development of Russian and French politics that had to be anticipated.
Had there been any doubts concerning these matters on the part of the British Government, the continual urging of Russian and French diplomatists must have made things plain. Russia's aggressive policy, and not the Austrian declaration of war on Servia, which did not come until five days later, led to the European war. Servia meant so little to England, although England traditionally poses as a protector of small nations, that the British Ambassador in St. Petersburg was able to describe England's interest in the kingdom on the Save as "nil." Only later, after the beginning of the war, England warmed up to Servia, and in the aforementioned speech Mr. Lloyd George found the most hearty tones in speaking of the heroic fight of this "little nation," although he was obliged to admit simultaneously that its' history is not untainted.
On the day following that conversation, on July 25, the British Ambassador had another talk with M. Sasonof, during the course of which he felt obliged to express to the Russian Government a serious warning concerning its mobilization.
On my expressing the earnest hope that Russia would not precipitate war by mobilizing until you had had time to use your influence in favor of peace his Excellency assured me that Russia had no aggressive intentions and she would take no action until it was forced on her. Austria's action was in reality directed against Russia. She aimed at overthrowing the present status quo in the Balkans and establishing her own hegemony there. He did not believe that Germany really wanted war, but her attitude was decided by ours. If we took our stand firmly with France and Russia there would be no war. If we failed them now rivers of blood would flow and we would in the end be dragged into war....
I said all I could to impress prudence on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and warned him that if Russia mobilized Germany would not be content with mere mobilization or give Russia time to carry out hers, but would probably declare war at once! His Excellency replied that Russia could not allow Austria to crush Servia and become the predominant power in the Balkans, and, if she feels secure of the support of France, she will face all the risks of war. He assured me once more that he did not wish to precipitate a conflict, but that unless Germany could restrain Austria I could regard the situation as desperate.—(British "White Paper" No. 17.)
A more convincing contradiction of the claim that Germany fell upon unexpectant Russia can hardly be imagined. Sazonof's conversation with the British Ambassador shows that Russia had decided from the beginning to bring about the war, unless Austria would subject itself to Russia's dictation.
Now, Russia was not alone concerned about Servia, but from its viewpoint Austria-Hungary must not maintain the preponderant position in the Balkans.
Sure of French help, Russia was determined to work against this. The reports of the British representative do not suggest with a word that Germany was responsible for the war; on the contrary, Sir Buchanan again, on his own account, warned the Russian Government to keep aloof from military measures, in his conversation with M. Sazonof on July 27, although the "White Paper" does not show that he had received any instructions by Sir Edward Grey.
His Excellency must not, if our efforts were to be successful, do anything to precipitate a conflict. In these circumstances I trusted that the Russian Government would defer the mobilization ukase for as long as possible, and that troops would not be allowed to cross the frontier even when it was issued.—(British "White Paper," No, 44.)